Continuous PNAD

Unemployment increases to 11.6% in quarter ended in February

Section: Social Statistics | Alerrandre Barros

March 31, 2020 09h00 AM | Last Updated: April 03, 2020 09h58 AM

ERRATA: An error was identified in the calculation of the quarterly and annual changes in the real average earnings and the real wage bill. The absolute values of the estimates have not been altered. The file with the summary tables was corrected and replaced, the changes were corrected in the release and in the news about the Continuous PNAD, published today at the IBGE News Agency.

The country has 12.3 million unemployed people and 38 million informal workers - Photo: Agência Brasilia/Tony Winston

The unemployment rate rose to 11.6% in the quarter ended in February, reaching 12.3 million unemployed people, according to the Continouos PNAD, released today (31) by the IBGE. The increase, in comparison with the quarter ended in November (11.2%), interrupted two quarters in a row of statistically significant falls in unemployment.

“This interruption in the beginning of the year is quite normal, because we had a downward trend in the end of the year. We did not notice this change in January; however, it came now in February, stimulated by a decrease in the number of employed people and an increase in job search”, says the survey analyst, Adriana Beringuy.

On the other hand, the unemployment rate continued falling in the comparison with the quarter closed in February 2019, when it remained at 12.4%. “The quarter closed in February this year records lowest rate against same period last year. This decrease was influenced by the growth in the number of employed people (1.8 million), which prevented the rate increase in this comparison”, says the researcher.

Ms. Beringuy also highlights that the increase in unemployment was not due to the trade sector, which, traditionally fires Christmas temporary workers at the beginning of the year. This time, the high was leveraged by the sectors of construction (-4.4%), public administration (-2.3%) and domestic services (-2.4%).

“Construction did not hold up the recovery recorded in the end of the last year. Public administration has seasonality, since the sector dismisses temporary education and health contracts at the end and in the beginning of the year, with new contracts from March on, after the approval period for the municipal budget. Domestic service is much related to family vacations, household expenditures, maids’ layoffs, since many families go travelling, interrupting the demand for this service”, says Ms. Beringuy.

Informality decreases, but reaches 38 million people

The informality rate fell from 41.1% in the quarter of September-November 2019 to 40.6% in the quarter closed in February this year, representing the total of 38 million informal workers. In this group are the workers without a formal contract, domestic workers without a formal contract, employers without CNPJ, self-employed without CNPJ and contributing family workers.

According to Ms. Beringuy, the fall in informality is centered on the reduction of contingents of the self-employed without CNPJ and also employees without a formal contract.

 “We are still under the influence of December, a period of the greatest influence of formal contracts. Many people were hired with formal contracts in the trade market, improving the consistency of the formal work data. This might be contributing to the decrease in the number of informal workers”, claims Ms. Beringuy. Another effect of the decrease in informality was the earnings increase, to R$2,375, a high of 1.8% in the quarter closed in February, against previous quarter.

“Inasmuch as there are fewer informal workers, people remain in more formal activities with better earnings, in sectors as industry and some segments of trade. We did not record this fact in the latest PNADs, since informality was in an upward trend”, says the survey analyst. The high in the earnings was more intense, 3.9%, in relation to same quarter last year.

According to the Continuous PNAD, the total of people out of the workforce hit 65.9 million, a record since the survey began, in the first quarter of 2012. Those are people who do not search for a job, but are not considered discouraged (people who gave up  job searching). The discouraged people sum up 4.7 million, a statistically stable scenario in both comparisons.

Coronavirus: data collection by phone

The IBGE will be collecting the PNAD data PNAD Contínua only by phone  during the period of social distancing, following the recommendations of the Ministry of Health regarding the context of public health emergence caused by the coronavirus. To confirm the interviewer identity during the phone call, check the Respondendo ao IBGE website.